St Henri is a time-honoured and alternative expression of Shiraz, and an intriguing counterpoint to Grange. It is unusual among high quality Australian red wines as it does not rely on any new oak. Released for the first time by Penfolds in the early 1950s (first commercial vintage 1957), it gained a new lease of life in the 1990s as its quality and distinctive style became better understood. Proudly, a wine style that hasn’t succumbed to the dictates of fashion or commerce. St Henri is rich and plush when young, gaining soft, earthy, mocha-like characters as it ages. It is matured in old, 1,460 litre vats that allow the wine to develop, imparting minimal, if any oak character. Although a small proportion of Cabernet is sometimes used to improve structure, the focal point for St Henri remains Shiraz.
Penfolds St Henri Shiraz 2019. Grown in the McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Padthaway, Wrattonbully and ‘The Peninsulas’ regions. 12 months in large seasoned oak vats. I’m loving the tannin on this release, the long minerally-flourish of the finish, the subtle mocha notes in there with the cherries and boysenberries and plums. There’s dry/roasted spice here and a good deal of it. Classic St Henri release, studded with fennel, perfumed, unhurried, lengthy, complete. Tasted: Jul 2022; Alcohol: 14.5%; Price: $135; Closure: Screwcap; Drink: 2026-2040+; Rated: 96 Points; Campbell Mattinson; The Wine Front
Deep crimson. Intense black cherry, blackcurrant, roasted walnut, cacao, herb garden aromas with cedar notes. Well concentrated sweet black cherry, blackcurrant, hint strawberry fruits, some jammy notes. some dark chocolate chinotto notes, fine loose knit slinky textures, very good mid palate richness and inky density, Finishes claret firm with roasted walnut notes and attractive mineral length. More bottle age with bring all the elements together. Very expressive. McLaren Vale, Barossa Valley, Padthaway, Wrattonbully and emerging “The Peninsulas” zone of South Australia. 12 months in large, seasoned oak vats. Drink 2024-2042+; Alcohol: 14.5%; Rating: 95 Points; Andrew Caillard MW
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